It is easy to say, ‘I will be supportive’. But what does that mean – A quick look through the dictionary and you get words like “to hold up or serve as a foundation or prop for”, “to promote the interests or cause of” or “to keep from fainting, yielding, or losing courage”. This shows there is a lot more to the word “supportive” that we would think.
Simple ways to be supportive:
Ride the wave – When your partner has an idea or a thought they are excited about – listen to them first and without thinking join in their energy and excitement. Sure , you could be the one with a practical mind and start talking about why the idea will not work and there are a million other people working on the same idea, you think you are being the one protecting your loved one, instead all you are doing is telling your partner that none of their ideas are up to your expectations – So stop being so practical and enjoy the energy from the idea.
Watch them – When your partner looks like they have something on their mind , you don’t need to try and pry the information out of them. We know you love to fix things, but sometimes, we just don’t need things fixed and we don’t want to talk about them. Instead learn to read between the lines and if you see your partner is in a solemn mood do something for them they like – perhaps take them for a drive and a quick ice cream?. It shows that you are there and even if we are not talking you are listening to the unsaid.
Friends first – You know how when your friend has a problem and calls you up to just talk about it, well the same goes in a relationship – if your partner has made a huge mistake at work or is having issues with her family – first thing – take their side. You could tell them at what point they made a mistake and what would have been the better thing to say to their family – but that’s not what a friend would do. Don’t try to fix anything – Just listen as you do to your friends.
Positive step forward – If you think your partner is asking for advice, don’t jump in head first. Start of with what you think they do well and then follow it with your advice. So for example they have an issue at work, start off with what you think of their positive points to their work ethic and then add your advice.
Wait for it – If your partner starts off with a Big idea (I’m changing jobs etc) hold your tongue. Remember to ride the energy of the new ideas and smile.Just because they have this idea doesn’t mean they are going to do it. Calm down and listen with an open mind – you should know that the excitement of the Big Idea might change in a day or two and your partner might have a differing opinion later. Many times, one partner reacts to the other’s Big idea and this reactivity leads to even more issues.
Acknowledge – If you know your partner is going through a tough time at work or with personal matters. Let them know that you are aware that things are stressful but you are around to catch the slack. You might not consider your partners issues important, but they do and by acknowledging it – you are letting them know that you understand.
What is more challenging is to actually love and be supportive towards them when they need it or when they want to share their moments with you. When times get hard or people behave in hurtful and disappointing ways or they continue to make negative choices and hurt themselves that is when your love is put to the test.
So show your support to your loved one and let them feel they are surrounded by you not just by words but by your actions.!!